Not sure what to expect from the first spin-off in the Star Wars franchise? The Force is with us in this quick spoiler-free review.
What’s it about?
Remember the classic first shot of Star Wars: Episode 4? Have you ever been curious what happened right before Princess Leia flew on screen with her blockade runner and the Death Star plans?
That’s what this movie is. It follows the exploits of Jyn Erso, rogue-turned-rebel and the galaxy’s only hope for discovering and foiling the Empire’s terrible plans.
Is it any good?
- It’s very good, and while it is obviously set in the Star Wars universe, but it is not a typical Star Wars film. Don’t expect what you typically see in an episode that concerns the Skywalkers; this one doesn’t feature any of Luke’s family in a central role, which means that the feeling of the story is much different. Which is exactly what they promised when this film was announced.
- Felicity Jones as Jyn Erso carries this movie handily; dynamic and interesting, well-acted and engaging. The supporting cast lives up to her example, displaying a wide range of personality and color. The villains are likewise three-dimensional and fascinating to watch.
- Much like last year’s The Force Awakens, the action in this film is an example of the best Hollywood has to offer. It’s a war movie, but a good one. It’s kinetic without being too shaky to see what’s happening.
- Seeing the beginnings of the Rebel Alliance as we remember it – from Mon Mothma’s spot-on portrayal by Genevieve O’Reilly to the presence of other bit parts from Episode IV that you will easily recognize – gives at the same time a feeling of being “home” as well as seeing the entire original trilogy in a new light.
Bottom line: Star Wars fans finally have a prequel they can enjoy. This movie looks the most like Star Wars that we’ve seen since 1977: it’s well-staged, well-shot, and incredibly nostalgic. That said, while it’s a good movie, it’s not a romp; instead, it’s a war movie, and a middle act that’s respectful to the source material and well-paced to take us directly from Revenge of the Sith into A New Hope.
Should I see it?
If you’ve ever seen Star Wars, I’d certainly recommend it; but know before you go in that this is a film light on the Force, and heavy with a very different type of destiny.
What should I watch for?
The film’s tagline is really the driving point of the film: Rebellions are built on hope. After the simmering evil of the prequel trilogy boils over in Episode III, this is rock bottom. It’s the fallout of sin, writ large across the galaxy.
But if you’ve seen the original trilogy, you know that there’s hope. You know what to look for. The battle is already won, but for Jyn Erso, victory hasn’t come yet. So while you watch this film, call on your memory of the original—and see the hope that keeps the rebellion alive.
We’d love to hear your (spoiler-free!) observations below!